Grieving: The Process Isn’t Simple … or Is It?

I have a predisposed thought on what grief is supposed to look like. Maybe it’s because of the movies: distraught, screaming, crying, moaning. It’s a stereotype in my mind and just that has caused me some concern on grieving.  Is that possible?

What is your thought on the grief process and how a person is to act? For me, there is a stereotype of how we are supposed to act and do. But what if, when you lose someone, you find yourself acting differently?  Instead of crying, you’re quiet, or maybe you still go about your day?

In the end, it’s not simple … or is it? Do we cause unneeded stress because we are not handling grief like we think people expect us to?

grief - simple or not?

I’ll tell you that when my Mom died, we had just bought a convenience store right after.  I thought I would be able to handle that, because it seemed that I was doing good with my Mom being gone.  I wasn’t crying or anything. I, along with my Dad and siblings, spent the week in the hospital with her. I felt I was okay.

So we’re doing this convenience store gig, 16hr days, and inside I’m feeling guilty about not being able to grieve. What’s wrong with me that I’m not crying over her death, over her loss?  I prayed and prayed, asking God what’s wrong with me.  Am I a cold-hearted person? So many questions I had, I felt something was wrong with me.

Have you experienced that? Basically, I was beating myself up, allowing the enemy to make me feel guilty over my lack of emotion.

However, over time, I learned that grieving is an individual response process.  There was nothing to feel guilty about when you’re grieving. There’s no set time-frame when you should “be over it”.  And, regardless of what anyone says, “just don’t think about it”, you do, and you reminisce, walking through memories and it can start the grieving process again for a time.

At this time, we are grieving again, not for my Mom, but for our daughter-in-law.  She was very sick, but it was a long-term sleeper kind of sick that slowly destroyed her organs.  Of course, she did not like to go to the doctor.  Her last two weeks, I took care of her at night while our son worked.  I thank God for that time with her.

It’s so funny, she did not like different textures of food hitting her mouth at the same time, and some textures she just did not like.  So, for several years I had been trying to get her to try Watergate Salad (4 different textures), no way!  She was not touching that!

However, last year they were at our house, and I got her to try a teensy bit on her tongue, she frowned (expecting ick!) and then all of a sudden a smile!  Finally!

While I was taking care of her at night, she would say “Mom, can you make me that green stuff?”  I knew what she was talking about.  She didn’t know why she loved it, she knew she should hate it, but she didn’t.  Of course, I made it and we ate it, she smiled and closed her eyes each time she took a bite.

I miss her, my son misses her, her misses her … she was only 28.  This time, I don’t feel guilty over “my” grieving.  She was like a daughter to us, even before they married, we told her she was always like our daughter no matter what.

The thing that I grieve over the most is the fact that her and my son had lost 4 babies in pregancy, that means we have no living grandchildren from them.  What hurts the most is that our son has no living child from their union.

While I’m still grieving, sometimes I walk down memory lane and I cry, sometimes I don’t.  Today, while writing this, it’s hard but hopefully it will help someone with the knowledge that grieving is a very personal response.  The ways and time-frame is very personal and may not look like someone else’s grief.  That’s what I told my son, he has his moments.

Is the grieving process simple? Yes and no.  For me and many others, it is much more difficult if you don’t have that relationship with Jesus Christ.  And, it’s much more difficult if the person who died did so without asking Jesus into their heart.

Three days before our daughter-in-law passed away, our pastor Julio, his wife and several from our church, came to pray over her and sing.  Of course, we are part of a Hispanic church, so it was all in Spanish (another story for another day).  Anyway, my husband and I were watching her, with tubes in her mouth and everywhere, she had just opened her eyes that morning after her heart stopping three times the night before.  We were watching her during the prayer and singing.  Her eyes got real big and shiny and she was trying to smile while the praying was going on … it was that moment we knew from God that she had rededicated her life to Christ!

That is eternal comfort for us and her family, and it is also for our son, who had also rededicated his life to God right before she passed away.

Simple or not? It’s not really simple to grieve, but it is much easier knowing that God is with you and you’re not alone, and it’s okay to grieve in your own way.

I’m getting better, my husband is a quiet griever, you don’t know what’s going on, but we’re passing through … with God’s strength.

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